San Diego’s Coronado Island is home to one of the world’s most elite special force units, the US Navy Seals. They recently unveiled a life-size statue called “The Naked Warrior”, commemorating the dedication and sacrifice of Seals over the past 70 years.
Initially, they wore normal combat uniforms not wet suits, but as the need for swimming developed, they cut back to only swimming shorts, weight belt, a weighted slate and a knife to cut their way out of entanglements – hence “Naked Warrior”. But no other weapons, relying on stealth, innovation – and a very high level of unarmed combat training.
Today’s US Naval Special Warfare developed from teams of naval demolition swimmers carrying satchels of explosives to blow routes for ships through maritime obstacles, and the covert reconnaissance of landing beaches.
They came more to the fore in the Korean War, including still-secret operations for the CIA. Then in Vietnam, the Seals’ role developed into a much wider range of direct action including capturing senior politicians. Today they carry out highly sophisticated special operations, mainly but not exclusively from the sea.
From my own experience of them, there are two barely discernable lines in this film that I’d like to highlight. There is a very simple clarity to people like the Seals. But this is easy for outsiders to misunderstand, particularly in the light of the media comic book characterisation: “I will always get back up” and “I do not seek recognition for my actions.” Simple, unassuming and very easy to underestimate. (You do that at your peril.)
The wife of a friend of mine in the US Navy Seals, made this film for Coronado Middle School’s KCMS News Team. Their usual topics are the school cross country race, a homemade lemonade stand raising money to combat juvenile diabetes, a school baseball game, the school cat and a cautionary film about posting online.
This film however is of more global interest. It comes complete with voice-overs from middle school pupils.
Producer Amy Steward calmly put together a shoot list of some of the Seals most decorated veterans. And, as with all the best producers, this persuaded serving officers to take part as well. She also obtained the use of excellent historical footage of Seal training and operations; and then some more modern footage.
So – a cracking school project. But also, as you’d expect from the wife of a Seal, an insight into their world – in particular to their motivation and innovation.